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  • Considering upgrade, which components are worth retaining?

    Posted on aquatarkus Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions: What hardware should I get? Considering upgrade, which components are worth retaining?

    This topic contains 31 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  JohnW 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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    • #2005650 Reply

      aquatarkus
      AskWoody Plus

      Hi

      I put together a home desktop system a few years ago (June 2013, to be precise) which has done me well but is starting to throw the odd exception and could probably do with a refresh. Most of the components I used were reasonably high spec and I’m wondering if would be reasonable to keep some of them to use in a new system. Minimally I could just replace the MB and CPU, but I thought I’d crowd-source the decision just in case I have unreasonable expectations.

      The current system specs are:

      chassis = Corsair Obsidian 650D
      psu = Corsair HX850 v2
      mb = ASUS P8Z77-V PRO
      cpu = 3.50 GHz Intel Core i7-3770K
      ram = Corsair XMS3 Vengeance DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 2x8GB
      gpu = ASUS HD7970
      hd1 = WD5000aakx (Western Digital Caviar Blue) 500GB
      hd2 = ST3000NM0033 (Seagate Enterprise) 3TB
      opt = Lite-On iHBS312
      audio = Asus Xonar Essence STX
      key = Corsair K50
      mouse = Corsair M65

      Anybody willing to suggest how much of that is worth keeping, and how much definitely needs to be replaced?

      TIA

      Cheers

    • #2005737 Reply

      joep517
      AskWoody MVP

      Given the age of the components, I’d replace everything if your budget permits. The CPU is a 2012 vintage 3rd generation CORE processor. Most other components appear to be of that vintage except the WD. The disks could be used in an external caddy as backup drives. If you do that I’d keep a close eye on them.

      If you choose to reuse anything, you should do some serious testing to identify the area giving you problems now. You sure don’t want to bring that to a new system.

      --Joe

    • #2005746 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      @aquatarkus
      It all depends what you are using the PC for:
      Design, CAD, Gaming, general surfing/email, office use etc..?
      I’m more frugal with devices and love the challenge of keeping them going 🙂
      Couple of thoughts:

      Operating System?
      Does your Mobo require a BIOS update?

      All to often fixes in BIOS firmware are overlooked for a more reliable system.
      Advice: 1st thing I would look into is replacing the primary storage to an SSD/SSHD
      (can use this in the future should you wish to upgrade further)
      Slow steps with low incremental costs can improve the OS/performance for happier computing. Saving cost here releases the potential for escalating costs elsewhere, holidays etc.. 😉

      ********** Win7 Pro x64 | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2005794 Reply

      aquatarkus
      AskWoody Plus

      Hi.

      64-bit Windows 10 Pro.

      No gaming. Some video editing and transcoding. A lot of music editing, and occasionally some computationally heavy jobs doing pattern searching in character data.

      The motherboard is up to date (but the latest BIOS is several years old).

      Most of the alerts I am seeing relate to motherboard and CPU temperatures and core voltages, which is why I think the MB and CPU are what I would change first. The graphics card was the most expensive part of the original build and I love the Sonar sound card.

      • #2006384 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Most of the alerts I am seeing relate to motherboard and CPU temperatures and core voltages, which is why I think the MB and CPU are what I would change first. The graphics card was the most expensive part of the original build and I love the Sonar sound card.

        Yeah, the sound card is one part where new units aren’t noticeably better for the price, and it’s also unlikely to be the cause of your current problems. (It is a PCIe version, right? Current motherboards don’t come with old-style PCI slots much…)

        I’d probably also keep the optical drive unless you’d be upgrading to something that writes M-Disc too.

        Can’t think of any direct reason to replace keyboard and mouse.

        Graphics cards have had a lot of development and the 7970 is a bit of a power hog. Graphics is also unfortunately quite close to the critical path in a lot of things… though the 7970 is a real beast with FP64 performance so if that’s what your computing needs, it’ll be hard to replace.

        BUT… cooling is actually one thing that can fail easily. Fan bearings wear out, current draw increases so voltage drops, and airflow is reduced… especially if there’s dust buildup anywhere. Also thermal pastes can dry out.

        Also, voltage fluctuations are typically a PSU fault and can cause secondary effects — and that’s typically less work to replace than any of the more active components. And replacing the PSU would also be prudent with anything else.

        So, first thing, I’d check for dust buildup and that all fans rotate easily, including those integrated into the PSU and graphics.

        Then if that didn’t help, I’d replace the PSU and see if replacing the thermal compounds in the CPU and such is feasible on this setup.

        Only if that doesn’t help either, I’d then replace the motherboard and CPU, and get a NVMe SSD with those.

        Oh, one important thing – if this is a business-critical system… I’d get a second PC equipped for all of your critical work before touching this one.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2006422 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        Before I spent a lot of money, I would:

        1. Replace the chassis cooling fans
        2. Replace the power supply
        3. Reseat the CPU with new thermal paste between the CPU and heatsink on the CPU fan. Use a utility to monitor CPU fan for correct RPM and ensure that it is spinning.
        4. Replace the system HDD with SSD.

        The replacement items could always be redeployed to a new system, so the expense is not duplicated in that event.

        Items #1-3 might correct your errors.

        Item #4 may provide plenty of performance improvements with Win 10, so that you may no longer feel you need a motherboard & CPU upgrade.

        Or… just replace everything if that is what you really want to do. 🙂

        FYI – I am still running a 3rd gen Intel Core CPU @3.4 GHz, from the 2012 era, and it is performing very well with the system running on a Samsung SSD. That gave it a whole new life. The system boots in seconds, and applications open almost instantly.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2006189 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Sounds like the mobo is unhappy so that really means new mobo, CPU and RAM.
      I’d keep the video and sound cards, but definitely replace HD1 with an SSD – this Adata M2 disk seems a good budget option.
      Keeping all the external components should have you running nicely, but I’d check the fans in the case are running as expected.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2006406 Reply

      Kirsty
      Da Boss

      Your decisions on replacing hardware may come down to which OS version you wish to run.

      … new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:

      Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
      AMD “Bristol Ridge”
      Qualcomm “8996″

      Because of how this support policy is implemented, devices that run the following Windows versions and that have a seventh generation or later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update:
      Windows Server 2012 R2
      Windows 8.1
      Windows Server 2008 R2
      Windows 7

      From MS KB 4012982

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2006644 Reply

      aquatarkus
      AskWoody Plus

      I see there is some good advice here, thank you.

      This isn’t a business-critical machine, it’s my hobby machine. It has a vast music library (I got that good sound card for a reason!) and I also use it for news and recreation (not gaming though). Everything is backed up regularly to a NAS so sudden disk failure wouldn’t be as terrible as a motherboard burnout. The GPU was probably over-spec’ed in 2012, it isn’t often heavily exercised.

      The case fans are functioning OK, they aren’t noisy and I clean them regularly. I get a regular alert from the ASUS monitor that the CPU fan is not spinning, even though I can see that it is. I haven’t replaced the thermal compound on the CPU and perhaps I should try that. The ASUS monitor also regularly reports bad voltages – and the numbers it reports contradict those reported by CPUID HWMonitor (which I have been running full time on this system since the first alerts appeared).

      (“regularly” in the previous paragraph means once or twice per day.)

      • #2006659 Reply

        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        What exceptions are you getting, details please?

        I’d not be surprised if one of the ASUS ‘board/GPU ‘utilities’ were involved, plenty of issues with them ~2007>2014, seen several reported again in recent months.

        • #2006661 Reply

          aquatarkus
          AskWoody Plus

          I can’t find the process which is generating the alerts and they don’t seem to be logged. There’s nothing in the event viewer corresponding to them. But in the last 48 hours I have seen:

              CPU core temperature is 106C
              CPU fan speed 0
              +12V is 24.8V
               CPU Core voltage 2.4

          I checked the min and max values for these sensors in HWMonitor and the values reported there were better. +12v was min 3.7 max 12.3. CPU core voltage was min 0.3 max 1.2. Core temperature was min 28 max 65C.
          Although the reported values are too extreme, when it reports a high temperature the HWMonitor temperature is also at the high end – just not nearly as high.
    • #2006648 Reply

      aquatarkus
      AskWoody Plus

      I see there is some good advice here, thank you.

      This isn’t a business-critical machine, it’s my hobby machine. It has a vast music library (I got that good sound card for a reason!) and I also use it for news and recreation (not gaming though). Everything is backed up regularly to a NAS so sudden disk failure wouldn’t be as terrible as a motherboard burnout. The GPU was probably over-spec’ed in 2012, it isn’t often heavily exercised.

      The case fans are functioning OK, they aren’t noisy and I clean them regularly. I get a regular alert from the ASUS monitor that the CPU fan is not spinning, even though I can see that it is. I haven’t replaced the thermal compound on the CPU and perhaps I should try that. The ASUS monitor also regularly reports bad voltages – and the numbers it reports contradict those reported by CPUID HWMonitor (which I have been running full time on this system since the first alerts appeared).

      (“regularly” in the previous paragraph means once or twice per day.)

      I meant the alerts!! I don’t clean the fans every day 🙂 Every month, maybe.

      I missed the question before but the sound card is PCI express so should be OK.

    • #2006662 Reply

      bosun1
      AskWoody Lounger

      Win 7 pro. My primary is an 8 core AMD cpu, 16 gigs ram, Nvidia 1040 TI video card, and a Zonar sound card.  Still works fine for video work and anything else I throw at it.  Not a big gamer.

      I let the wife buy new tires and rims for her Ford.   Me, I replaced an old four core machine with a new AMD Pinnacle 16 core machine,  16 gigs of faster ram, Win 7 Pro, etc.  Really nice thing about it is MS won’t give me any updates to it because it ‘requires’ a modern OS!

      For the machine that plays movies for the TV I have an old refurbished Dell that I paid less than $200.00 for.  Works fine..

      As noted above, try a new power supply and video card, new paste. If that stops any problems you have then you’re all set.  You can always take the new pieces and put them in a completely new build.

      Of course if you really want a new machine do it.  Biggest hassle I had was finding out what exact memory worked for the new mobo.

    • #2006834 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      I can’t find the process which is generating the alerts and they don’t seem to be logged. There’s nothing in the event viewer corresponding to them. But in the last 48 hours I have seen:

          CPU core temperature is 106C
          CPU fan speed 0
          +12V is 24.8V
           CPU Core voltage 2.4
      I checked the min and max values for these sensors in HWMonitor and the values reported there were better. +12v was min 3.7 max 12.3. CPU core voltage was min 0.3 max 1.2. Core temperature was min 28 max 65C.
      Although the reported values are too extreme, when it reports a high temperature the HWMonitor temperature is also at the high end – just not nearly as high.

      That sounds way too hot to me. Reset the fan connectors, they may be mis behaving. Thermal compound for the cpu. but

      ASUS monitor also regularly reports bad voltages

      M/B or P/S. You could try trouble shooting but maybe concurrently look into what you would replace the M/B,CPU,P/S and likely Ram (mostly DDR4 these days) with. As said before pay attention to the sockets req’ed for your sound card and GPU.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2007028 Reply

        aquatarkus
        AskWoody Plus

        Here’s an odd one: I just got an alert that said

        Warning! CPU -62.0 centigrade

        This is not long after an alert that told me it was +64.0 centigrade.

        I’m fairly sure that this is from the ASUS AI suite, and I’m starting to think the MOBO is no longer trustworthy.

        • #2007029 Reply

          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Dump the ASUS ‘utilities’, uninstall them – you already know they’re unreliable.

          Use HWiNFO64 set for ‘sensors only’ and expanded to 3x panes for full temps/voltages/etc. on one screen. Spend some time in the BIOS/UEFI recording the temps/voltages/fan speeds to get a baseline as well.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2007351 Reply

            aquatarkus
            AskWoody Plus

            OK I uninstalled the AI suite, rebooted and have had HWinfo64 running ever since. I’ll give it a day and then post the key numbers here.

            Meanwhile I’ll start looking into what it would cost to replace the MB, CPU, GPU and RAM, and add an SSD as the new C drive.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2007433 Reply

            JohnW
            AskWoody Plus

            I run ASUS motherboards on a couple of my systems. I have never installed their “utilities”.

            Have always relied on the UEFI BIOS display to monitor temps, voltage, and fan speed, before Windows is booted, or HWiNFO64 while Windows is running.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2007859 Reply

            aquatarkus
            AskWoody Plus

            I feel like this is creeping into “what’s wrong with my PC” territory rather than “what’s good hardware to get”, but there is a connection… if the numbers shown in the monitor screen captures I’ve attached indicate problems I’m going to do surgery; how critical is it (how soon?) and how widespread (how much of the existing machine is salvageable?)

            So attached are HWMonitor stats from a runtime of a couple of minutes more than 24 hours. Obviously that includes 8 hours when the machine really wasn’t doing anything so bear that in mind when you look at the averages. A 24 hour test doesn’t include everything this machine does but it was an average to below average day.

            20191119_01_cpu_voltages_clocks
            20191119_02_cpu_utilisation
            20191119_03_cpu_temps

            20191119_04_cpu_other
            20191119_05_mobo
            20191119_06_disks
            20191119_07_gpu
            20191119_08_net

            • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by  aquatarkus.
            • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by  aquatarkus.
            Attachments:
            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2007419 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      The System Builder at PCPartPicker lets you select parts starting with CPU, cooler, motherboard, memory, etc., and validates the compatibility of the parts. Makes finding a MB with the correct socket for your new CPU, or what kind of RAM sticks you need, a non-issue.

      It also offers part prices available at selected sellers, and runs a subtotal of your build in progress, so that you can estimate the expense of your project.

      https://pcpartpicker.com/list/

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2007920 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      So attached are HWMonitor stats from a runtime of a couple of minutes more than 24 hours

      I don’t like the variation in CPU voltages. They should be set by the VR on the mobo and should not vary much, unless your mobo is doing some strange overclocking behaviour.

      Max CPU temperature of 80C is too high – I would expect a max around 60-65 with the fan speed increasing with temperature. Can you simulate a CPU load and watch the temp and fan speed?

      Watch it for a bit longer with typical loads and let us know.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2007979 Reply

        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        CPU voltages look normal, though temps are higher than expected (but still 20~25C away from throttling) compared to my Ivy Xeon (3.3/3.5Mhz, close to i7 3770 non-K). Needs a TIM refresh or a better after market CPU cooler?

        Attachments:
      • #2008334 Reply

        aquatarkus
        AskWoody Plus

        OK, here’s some numbers while running a computation-heavy job:

        20191120_01_cpu_utilisation
        20191120_02_cpu_temps
        20191120_03_cpu_other
        20191120_04_mobo

        I’ve also made up a couple of graphs, first compares CPU use and core temperature:

        20191120_05_cpu_util_v_temps

        and the second compares CPU temperture and CPU fan speed:

        20191120_06_cpu_temps_v_fan

        These graphs look OK to me, although perhaps a little on the warm side of comfortable. Would you agree?

        cheers
        T

         

        Attachments:
    • #2008351 Reply

      satrow
      AskWoody MVP

      Voltages and most temps look fine but hotter than I’d want to see, still ~20C to TjMax (~25C away from throttling) but I’d not spotted the ‘board temp details before, Aux is off the scale at both ends (false reading?) and the Mainboard temps are also pretty high (66C min – is the CPU cooler a tower or stock type down draught?).

      GPU readouts and drive temps during this run (trying to gauge whether the exhaust flow is up to the task)?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2008589 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        Also which direction are the case fans blowing, in or out? I like to have my front fans blowing in, and the rear fans blowing out for cross ventilation of the case.

        I agree that the overall temps appear to be a bit high, including the motherboard and drives.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2008780 Reply

          aquatarkus
          AskWoody Plus

          In the photos I attached, both fans are exhaust fans. Off picture on the right, and a bit lower down, there is a big fan which is an intake fan. So air comes in at bottom front past the disk drives, flows through the case and is exhausted top and rear.

           

          • #2008810 Reply

            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            I’d turn off the exhaust fans. Having the case effectively pressurised and then allowing the air to escape on it’s own should be more than sufficient.

            cheers, Paul

            • #2008974 Reply

              aquatarkus
              AskWoody Plus

              It seems the only way to turn the fans completely off is to disconnect them from the power supply. However I have tweaked the fan profiling (using Fan Xpert) so that the fans are at their minimum speeds unless temperatures go too high.

              1. The noise levels have always been low, now the case is almost completely silent. So this had an effect on fan activity.

              2. For the last hour the PC has done nothing other than play a live video stream (the congressional impeachment hearing, which probably won’t surprise you). CPU load has averaged 10% across all 4 cores.

              3. The motherboard temperature has remained at 73C and the CPU cores have fluctuated between 40-50C. So compared to the previous figures I posted (when the machine was under load) the CPU is slightly cooler and the motherboard is marginally hotter.

               

    • #2008362 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Is the air off the CPU cooler very hot?
      Air from the case?

      cheers, Paul

    • #2008374 Reply

      aquatarkus
      AskWoody Plus

      GPU numbers:

      20191120_07_gpu

      The case has a big fan on the top, one over the HDD bays, one over the GPU, and the PSU has its own fan. If I put my hand over any of the fan vents the air (a) is venting (b) feels cooler than the ambient room temperature (which is about 22C), or much the same. (The fan over the GPU is warmer than the others, and its air flow probably pulls in air from the CPU fan as well) If I take the front wall off the case and put my hand over the CPU fan the air flow is warm, but not hot. The fans are spinning freely and silently, and have been dusted this week, so I don’t think they are a problem.

      There’s no special CPU cooler here, it’s just the fan that came with the CPU. I’ve attached a couple of photos (the sound card is the small card between the CPU and GPU):

      CPU_GPU

      fans

      The CPU fan is also clean and silent. I think I’ve renewed the thermal compound between the fan and the CPU housing twice in the six years since this machine was built.

       

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  aquatarkus.
      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  aquatarkus.
      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  aquatarkus.
      Attachments:
    • #2008559 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      I wonder if that big fan above the CPU is ruining the CPU cooler air flow. Turn it off and re-check the temps.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2009103 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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